A recent seminar announcement introduced a certain Tamaki Kazuo as an 8th Dan representant and teacher of Motobu Udundī. The reason is that Okinawan masters often know each other from school or elsewhere. Okinawa karate and kobudō is largely based on lobbyism and nepotism, and so they recommend each other, grade each other etc.pp. In this seminar case as well, Tamaki was invited because he was a classmate of another invited teacher.
Fortunately, and you might have followed it on social media, an agreement was reached by the parties involved and the name of Motobu Udundī will not be used in the advertisements of the seminars.
Anyway, who was Tamaki’s teacher in Motobu Udundī and why it is an unrightful claim?
The teacher’s name was Taira Ryōshū. Taira was a student of Uehara Seikichi, the person responsible for handing down Motobu Udundī. Taira received an 8th dan and a shihan license from Uehara. In fact, Taira was the only person in Okinawa who received a shihan license from Uehara. Taira was rich and provided significant assistance to Uehara. But then Taira became almost a murderer. This was reported in the newspaper on January 5, 1990, as follows.
Slashing at one after another with a sickle – Disco owner quarrels with customers wearing sandals
Okinawa City – On the afternoon of the 4th, the Okinawa Police Station arrested Taira Ryōshū (59), a restaurant manager at 3-1-4 Moromizato, Okinawa City, on suspicion of attempted murder.
According to the investigation, around 4:00 a.m. on the 4th, the suspect Taira was on the street in front of the disco “Hollywood” in Uechi, Okinawa City, which he runs. An employee received outrage by four customers who were refused entry because they were wearing traditional Japanese thonged sandals, resulting in a dispute with the customers.
The suspect Taira took out a kama (sickle) from his car parked nearby and slashed at them one after another.
In this fight, interior design worker A (20) had his nose cut off, canal worker B (20) had a laceration of about three inches on his left shoulder, and reinforcement worker C suffered a shallow laceration of about 10 centimeters on his neck.
The suspect Taira fled from the scene by car but was afterwards arrested by Okinawa police officers and accompanied to the police station.
Due to this incident, Uehara excommunicated Taira from Motobu Udundī.
After his release from prison, Taira began teaching under the name of Motobu Udundī, advertising himself as a 10th dan and holder of menkyo kaiden (certificate of complete transmission of the art). Of course, this is a self-proclaimed rank and title.
Among Taira’s students in Okinawa are Tamaki Kazuo and Takamiyagi Tetsuo, and he has students in the United States and possibly elsewhere.
About ten years after the first incident, Taira appears again in an attempted murder case. It was reported in the newspaper as follows.
3 years and 8 months in prison for man who stabbed his sister
Naha District Court, Okinawa City Branch
[Okinawa] Self-employed Taira Ryōshū (72) from 3-1-4 Moromizato, Okinawa City, was charged with attempted murder for stabbing his older sister, 69 years old at the time, in the abdomen and other parts of the body with a butcher knife in May of last year, at the office of a motorcar hotel in Hiyane, Okinawa City. The trial was held on the morning of the 27th at the Okinawa City Branch of the Naha District Court and presiding judge Sugiyama Shinji handed down a sentence of 3 years and 8 months of imprisonment (5 years of imprisonment requested).
In short, there are good reasons for excommunication, and it means that you cannot use the school name anymore. Also, you must not use the patch or other school symbols anymore. Because you were dishonorably discharged. Move on and chose whatever other name and patch you like instead.
NOTE BY THE AUTHOR: To avoid speculation: I have never trained in Motobu Udundi!
© 2023, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.